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Steps for Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes - Topic Overview

Diagnosing type 2 diabetes includes testing for high blood sugar, learning if there are other causes of high blood sugar, and discovering what side effects diabetes has had on your body.

Step 1: Do I have diabetes?

Your doctor will diagnose type 2 diabetes based on your symptoms, risk factors, physical exam, and blood test results.

Your blood sugar tests show if you have type 2 diabetes, prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance), or neither condition. If you don't have type 2 diabetes but you do have symptoms like being very tired, your doctor may look for other causes.

Step 2: Is there another condition causing my diabetes?

Sometimes there is a medical problem other than diabetes causing your high blood sugar. If so, you have secondary diabetes. For some people who have secondary diabetes, the diabetes goes away when the cause is eliminated.

Step 3: Do I have type 2 diabetes?

Treatment for diabetes is based on the type of the disease. There are two main types: type 1 and type 2.

  • If your body is not producing insulin, you have type 1 diabetes.
  • If your body is producing too little insulin or has become resistant to insulin, you have type 2 diabetes.

Step 4: Do you have diabetes complications?

If you have diabetes, your doctor will examine you for signs of diabetes side effects, also known as complications. These affect your eyes, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, and nerves. Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without knowing it. So complications from diabetes might have already started by the time the diabetes is diagnosed.

People with diabetes often have other conditions, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Your doctor will look for these problems, because they increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 16, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    Low
    0-69
    Normal
    70-130
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    Your level is currently

    If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

    People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

    Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

    However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

    Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

    Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

    One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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